A recent study published in the Political Research Quarterly showed that the United States Senate is more responsive to the wealthiest constituents than any other group. The study used data from the 2004 National Annenberg Election Survey and the results were compared tosenators' voting patterns from the 107th Congress up through the 111th Congress. Despite popular opinion, Democrats were no more in tune with low-income residents than Republicans were over this period of time. The reason government has made some citizens' voices more equal than others is because government has grown so large that between delivering government contracts and an easily manipulated tax code, they can keep their campaign coffers stuffed and supply cushy government contracts for their friends.
As the Leviathan of government grows into more aspects of our lives, more opportunities to provide contracts for those who own major companies to work on government projects. As long as the government keeps undertaking large-scale projects, and gaining access to more and more funding they can dole out the government cheese to any willing participant and donor. During Fiscal Year 2011, $450 billion dollars was given out as part of contracting efforts. The top five departments issuing contracts were Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Veteran Affairs, and NASA. These contracts are typically underestimates of how much the project will actually cost, and as we have seen, these departments continually see overruns with these contracts.
These contracts have run amok. Take for example Lockheed Martin, the largest recipient of defense contracts in 2009. $38.4 billion of its net sales were made to the U.S. government in the form of main contractor or subcontractor duties, amounting to 85% of its total sales. Should the government be providing 85% of the revenue stream for any company?
By shrinking the size and scope of government, less contracts will be awarded. When less contracts are awarded, the government provides fewer opportunities to reward wealthy constituents and their friends for contributing to their campaigns and supporting them politically. This would minimize government abuse and give wealthy constituents less in terms financial rewards. But these steps would need to be taken hand-in-hand with ending the abuses of tax code by our elected officials.
Our tax code continues to be filled with tax loopholes, exemptions lobbied on behalf of high-priced lobbyists, and penalizes personal success above all else. Our current tax code is 73,954 pages long. We need a tax code that prevents politicians from cutting out special exemptions for wealthy donors and the businesses they own. It's time to level the playing field for everyone.
The United States government must move to a taxation plan that treats every American equally. This can be achieved by implementing the FairTax, a tax plan that would eliminate a multitude of other taxes and install a 23% national sales tax on non-necessities, a flat tax which would force each American to pay a certain percentage without loopholes, or any tax that doesn't allow for loopholes of any sort, regardless of political activity. In a time where the IRS is embattled in a scandal where they sought out Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny because of their core ideology, isn't it time we finally put the IRS out to pasture? In a time where we look to continually improve upon our national and international policies, why do we stay tied to the anchor of the progressive income tax?
If we can cut back on government's size and scope, we can chip away at pay-to-play politics that lead to overruns and negatively impact our swollen budget. By simplifying our tax code and removing any possibility for tax loopholes for special interests, the Senate will lose more of their power to reward the wealthiest constituents. The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen and the fewer people it works for. By removing government rewards, we can grow the individual and work towards more equal representation.